After the "War of Kings" mini-event, Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning have found a way to take Nova in his own, individual, direction. This series could have easily become "The Further Adventures of Nova and the Fallout of the War of Kings" or "The Nova Corps, Featuring Ricky Rider."
And while such a transformation might have worked, might even have made sense given the way this series has unfolded over the past couple of years, "Nova" began as a solo comic, and a solo comic is what it will seemingly remain.
Well, except for the inclusion of Darkhawk and the partial New Warriors reunion, but I'll get to that in a minute.
But Abnett and Lanning have removed Richard Ryder, the Nova of the title, from the cosmic events raging across Marvel's outer galaxies. He's fallen back though a temporal rift with his sometimes pal Darkhawk in tow, and he not only comes face to face with his old 1970's nemesis, the Sphinx, but he gets caught up in a Reed Richards archeological dig.
Though no exact time is given for this adventure into the past -- how could it be, unless Rider, a teen in the mid 1970s, were pushing 50 right now? -- Reed Richards mentions that he had just met Nova for the first time right before this adventure. And this Nova, full of power and confidence and pointy shoulder pads, acts nothing like the whiny young kid he recently encountered.
So it's your run-of-the-mill time travel plot, with the protagonist sent back into the past, meeting up with old friends and enemies but with a new perspective. It's fine. It's solid. It's nothing special.
Artist Andrea DiVito and colorists Bruno Hang and Jay David Ramos resist the urge to color the sequences set in the Marvel past using Ben-Day dots.
But maybe that cliché technique would have at least made the story visually interesting. It's not bad by any means, but it's a completely average looking Marvel comic, circa 2009. And with a story that plays it safe, it feels like what it is: disposable entertainment that's worth exactly as much as your investment in these characters. If you care about Nova and Darkhawk, this is something you'd probably like. And if you look forward to the return of the classic New Warriors, then the final page might make you very happy.
For the rest of us, though, it's just a well-produced, if ephemeral, diversion.